India has given Pakistan a detailed list of at least 15 individuals allegedly involved in pro-Khalistani activities in Pakistan, in the garb of making preparations for celebrating the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November.
The dossier containing events from the past four years was handed over to Pakistan during the second round of Kartarpur Corridor talks between the two countries in Wagah on Sunday. Both have agreed to operationalise the corridor before November.
The 23-page dossier, reviewed by ET, points to “open display of banners backing Bhindranwale and Referendum 2020 inside the holy shrines in Pakistan by the UK-based pro-Khalistanis like Manmohan Singh Bajaj.” These pro-Khalistanis are misguiding Sikh youths along the lines of Kashmiri youths and instigating them by claiming that “Indian government treats Kashmiris and Sikhs as slaves”, India is learnt to have conveyed.
Citing 2016 instances, the dossier says: “Sardar Mohd Yousuf, federal minister for religious affairs and harmony, in his address during the main function at Gurdwara Nanakana Sahib eulogised Burhan Wani”, a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist killed in an encounter by Indian security forces in July 2016. “Attempts were made to instigate Sikh pilgrims over issues like demonetisation,” the dossier notes.
Every year, Sikh jathas visit Pakistan under bilateral Religious Shrine Protocol, 1974. “These groups are subjected to anti-India propaganda by pro-Khalistani activists,” the dossier says, adding Gopal Singh Chawla, a key Khalistani element”, instigated Sikh youths to back ‘Azad Kashmir’ demand. In April, Chawla, during a function at Panja Sahib in Pakistan’s Attock where Indian pilgrims were present, raised a demand for “liberation of Punjab and Kashmir from India”, the dossier says.
The dossier points to Chawla’s connection with LeT chief Hafiz Saeed, arrested on Wednesday by Pakistani authorities. Chawla is a well-known “Khalistani element who often spews venom against India in his speeches and supports militancy in Punjab”, says the dossier.
The dossier has year-wise pictorial details of Chawla’s anti-India activities on social media. As many as 11 photographs from his Facebook account, including posters of Bhindranwale, are part of the dossier. Jagroop Singh Rupa, who went with a jatha to Pakistan in 2016, was given arms training by fugitive Sikh militants, Lakhbir Singh Rode and Harmeet Singh, alias PhD, to carry out terror attacks in India, the dossier says.
India has also cited the case of recently banned Sikhs for Justice, the US based pro-Khalistan group. “What is more threatening is its declaration to hold Kartarpur convention at Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib during the 550th anniversary celebration of Guru Nanak,” the dossier notes.
The dossier also has names of Tara Singh, Bishan Singh and Maninder Singh for displaying Khalistani propaganda and leading a protest against India in Wagah in July 2017. In 2018, the UK and the US-based pro-Khalistani elements, Avtar Singh Sanghera and Pritpal Singh, were allowed to campaign openly at Panja Sahi Gurdwara in Attock, the dossier says.